Atlanta: Bang Racing preview

Bang Racing Teammates Betting on Tundra Thunder in Atlanta Following a strong Toyota showing at Daytona, Bang Racing teammates Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil are confident they'll be two electric examples of Atlanta Motor Speedway's new slogan,...

Bang Racing Teammates Betting on Tundra Thunder in Atlanta

Following a strong Toyota showing at Daytona, Bang Racing teammates Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil are confident they'll be two electric examples of Atlanta Motor Speedway's new slogan, "Real Racing, Real Fast," during the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 on Saturday.

"I haven't been this excited to go racing in a long time," Skinner said. "When the green flag dropped at Daytona and all the Toyotas stayed up front and ran well, that was the motivation that I needed. It's fuel.after Daytona, the fire is back in my belly for sure."

And rightly so. The inaugural truck champion returns to the fastest mile-and-a-half in NASCAR in his No. 42 Toyota Tundra with one Busch win, several top-10 finishes and a wealth of knowledge in his Atlanta arsenal and is looking to claim his first win in the series he once dominated.

"I love Atlanta," Skinner said. "I've come very close to winning the Cup race there twice. I'm not going to say that Atlanta owes me one because you make your own luck, and it just wasn't in the cards for me. But I will say that my strong performance there is one of the reasons that I like that track so much."

Even though teammate Kvapil hasn't seen racing action on the ultra-fast, multi-grooved track, he's betting that previous Atlanta tests and crew chief Eric Phillips' multiple wins with Joe Nemecheck and Greg Biffle will give him the advantages he'll need to edge out the field in his No. 24 Line-X Tundra.

"I've tested at Atlanta twice and was comfortable right away," Kvapil said. "One of my best tracks is Texas. I've won a race there and finished fourth at the inaugural Lowe's race, so it seems like I have a good understanding of how to handle my truck around those types of tracks. And I've got confidence in Eric to give me a good truck based on his winning experiences there."

Recent testing at Texas Motor Speedway and a diligent pursuit of horsepower and performance by Toyota and Bang Racing has also given both drivers the determination they'll need to bring home the team's first win.

"With all the testing and gains that Toyota has made with their horsepower, I feel like what I thought was going to take five or six months may only be five or six races in before we can do some damage with this thing," Skinner said. "Toyota's working hard, and they don't seem to be letting up. Everyone at Bang Racing has been working really hard, and we've done a lot of testing. We went to a Texas test and learned a lot that will definitely help us at Atlanta."

"Our testing at Texas proved that we were pretty fast, and I think we should have a good setup going in," Kvapil said. "I feel certain that we can be a contender for the win."

And beyond fierce competition on the track and anticipating their odds, both teammates are in agreement of another reality: the inaugural Atlanta Motor Speedway Craftsman Truck Series race will continue to provide unparalleled racing action for the fans.

"You can run just about anywhere you want at Atlanta.two- and three-wide," Skinner said. "And that's exciting for the fans. The trucks put on the best race of just about anyone. They punch such a big hole in the air on super speedways, and your closing rate is so fast. It's a rush when you're pulling up on somebody. It'll be hard for one truck to just get out there and walk away from everyone."

Qualifying for the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200 is slated for Friday, March 12 at 1 p.m. EST. Craftsman Truck Series Champions Skinner and Kvapil will take to the green flag at the inaugural Atlanta Motor Speedway event on Saturday, March 13 at 1:30 EST. The second race of the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule will be televised LIVE on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. EST with racing radio coverage on MRN affiliates nationwide at 12:30 p.m. EST.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Travis Kvapil